“I feel as if, for me, this may be the start of the last campaign I get to fight. Not because I’m too tired to go on. But because the planet’s getting tired; the moment’s come to make the stand. We’re reaching the limits, running out of time. But that doesn’t depress me–I’m more excited than I’ve ever been, because I think we know what we need to do. I think we’ve peeled away the layers of the onion and gotten to the heart of things.”
“The ultimate triumph of community over crisis; it is as hopeful a note as I know how to strike. When people ask me where they should move to be safe from climate change, I always tell them anyplace with a strong community. Neighbors were optional in the past fifty years, but they’ll be essential in the decades to come.”
–excerpts from Oil and Honey by Bill McKibben
“Fundamentally, the task is to articulate not just an alternative set of policy proposals, but an alternative worldview to rival the one at the heart of the ecological crisis–embedded in interdependence rather than hyperindividualism, reciprocity rather than dominance, and cooperation rather than hierarchy. This is required not only to create a political context to dramatically lower emissions, but also to help us cope with the disasters we can no longer avoid. Because in the hot and stormy future we have already made inevitable through our past emissions, an unshakable belief in the equal rights of all people and a capacity for deep compassion will be the only things standing between civilization and barbarism.”
–excerpt from Naomi Klein’s new book This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate
As I attempted to join the climate march in NYC last Sunday–fresh off the train from Boston and three hours late due to my cousin Morgan’s Bat Mitzvah celebration that had begun the previous day–I was prodded in the ribs by a petite brunette wielding a cellphone. I understood her frustration with the crowds and her furious need to part the seas in order to arrive at her destination. To her, this was a traffic snarl, not the most important climate demonstration, like, ever!
So–just as a drop of water yearns to join the ocean–I jumped over a barrier and fell into step with the group that was spilling across 42nd Street. I began to shout “No Planet B!” in unison with the other voices around me. As we continued our chant, it had a calming effect as if we were made up of only one body, floating through Times Square.
I pegged a few people around me as “hippy-chic” undergraduates in braids and face paint and pretty sandals, but soon I let go of categorizations, for also I saw grandmothers arm-in-arm, young folks (in all sorts of hairdos and footwear) calling for Food Justice, a middle-aged man with a straw hat and a cardboard sign that read, “Electrified Public Transit Walkable Bikeable Communities No More Sprawls” and another guy with one message in black ink: “DENY DENIAL!”
These are just a few of the hundreds of thousands of people who came together on September 21st.
Shame on you, Sartre. Heaven is other people!
Or so I thought for a few hours last Sunday…